Rory died today in an accident that could only have been prevented with hindsight and time travel. Angela, our designer, and the bunny’s proper owner is devastated. I’m not much better. Zach is an empty shell of a human being whose heart pumps ice, and even he wanted to stop the usual presses, such as they are, and make this.
Rory won’t be leaving the comic strip. But the character was based largely on the bun, so I want to write him up the way I remember him.
He was a happy rabbit. I mean that. His entire free time was spent running and jumping and if those aren’t mammalian expressions of joy, I goddamn give up. And he was surrounded by people who made their sole duties into spoiling him rotten. There was a constant supply of fresh vegetables and frozen strawberries wherever he hopped, and for a while this summer, he ate better than I did. Largely because Timothy Hay is somehow cheaper than ramen.
He was a smart rabbit, but in ways that exhibited themselves as stupidity. He had the social moxie to snub us when we displeased him—an unspeakable act that generally occurred when Angela read something about rabbit dietary patterns and food—brace yourself for horror—left his presence. He would thump his back paw when he was under us but we weren’t showering him with attention. Terrible behavior for a child, hilarious for a bunny. And a sign that he understood himself in relation to us.
He was smart about his incisors, too, and in a very human way. I argue that smart people solve problems, and that if a rabbit goes around solving his own problems—well, he must be smart, too. For instance, if a particular rabbit has escaped and made it behind the refrigerator, and a large black cable is preventing forward progress, and this rabbit does the noble duty of removing that cable, he must be pretty bright. He did the same for my mouse wire a week later, and would have kept on helpfully removing cables and wires for us if we hadn’t joined in and put those suckers up on the walls.
He was an avid consumer of literature. The more expensive and desirable the book, the more ravenous he was for it.
One of my students, a gentleman from China, was studying at our kitchen table one day when Rory found his way to those heights. There were textbooks there, and notebooks, and receipts, and mail. Even a passport. And my student, the epitome of politeness, was unsure what to do with Rory as he feasted. When I found my student overlooking the ruins and still trying to study, as if working against stereotypes was not at the constant forefront of his mind, he looked up at me and said:
“Your rabbit eat—uh. Many things.”